Saturday, December 29, 2012

Hex Reassignment Surgery: Deities

So, the basic tone of the re-skin is trending towards "grim" and that means I'm working against my typical inclinations. Not a problem, but a challenge. +Jack Shear's TotGaD: What I know about the gods of the World Between is the source I'm drawing from.

Really quick detour:
I have just begun my read through of +Andrew Shields ' excellent 'The World Between for Fictive Hack, and I believe if you've not seriously looked at his adaptation you're doing yourself a disservice. There are a lot of exciting ideas, and he expands The World Between in very interesting ways, and adds a beautiful map into the mix.

Okay, back to deities. Before I enumerate a buch of Jack's stuff, let me give you the outline of my idea on how these are going to be used: The source material is human-centric. The humans of the setting have a unified, organized church that is a major pillar of human culture. Elven law dictates that humans are not permitted to worship any gods other than their own, and human culture and religious practices reinforce that. The demi-humans have their own cherry-picked pantheons from Jack's lists. Not much invention, just re-mixing whats already there.

The weird, otherworldly, and capricious Nature Gods seem like a good fit for the elves in the Black-Mash. These gods should be linked to rites that make them seem primal, alien, and pagan. Blood, and sex magic as suggested by +Andrew Shields seem appropriate.
  • The Crooked Moon
  • The Forest Who Walks
  • The Gods of the Grapes
  • The Lamenting Mother

Dwarves should have some considerably "metal" I'll combine the Storm Sovereign pantheon with anything on the list that seems fitting to me. I notice a lot of female deities in the dwarven pantheon, and that's fine. I've always liked my idea of matriarchal dwarves anyway. It will make for great tales of their dalliances.
  • Astariax (Goddess of Intrigue, Stratagem, and Mercantile Prosperity) – always depicted as wearing luxurious clothing and with her nose turned up in the air haughtily; like if Paris Hilton were Machiavelli
  • Charlak (God of Imprisonment) – it is said that he carved out dungeons beneath the world before men ever walked the globe.
  • Garm-Gorak (the Bloody Maw, God of Wolves and War) – like a Viking on an LSD-and-PCP cocktail *In Black-Mash, Dwarves are Wolf-Riders and have a special kinship with Canines. Over time, they have bred dogs for many purposes and Dwarven Dogs are a thing as much as Dwarven Weapons.
  • Hulmora (Goddess of the Elements) – if Thor were a permanently pissed-off goddess who threw thunder and lightning and rain everywhere
  • Merrihel (Goddess of Death and Glorious Battle) – the Morrigan via German opera and Romanticism; has Shadar-Kai Valkyries; hates Baba Yaga
  • Thanalia (Goddess of forging, sailing, and cavorting) – party-time goddess *Sailing might seem contradictory, but embrace that...its a good detail.

The humans of Black-Mash have an elaborate and unified religion. Their church plays a part in nearly every aspect of human culture, and is often the connective tissue of human civilization in the wilds.
  • The Lady of the White Way – a warrior-mother goddess, like Mother Mary crossed with Joan d'Arc; a monotheistic goddess—all other divine beings are considered to be false idols and demons; has a hierarchical priesthood, a pope, cathedrals, inquisitors, witch hunters, and templars; her church has four apostolic saints.
  • Arianna, the Bloody Redeemer, a crusader who brought the fledgling Church of the Lady to the pagans. She is depicted as a mighty warrior in plate armor wielding a sword stained with the blood of infidels. She is especially revered by cavaliers, mercenaries, warlords, and nobles from military families.
  • Bernus, the Stumbling Wayfarer, was a merchant who converted to the faith of the Lady after an encounter with an angel on the road. He is depicted as a blind-folded pilgrim leaning on a shepherd's crook. He is especially revered by travelers, traders, gypsies, and penitents.
  • Calbrius, the Light Seeker, a monk who compiled the scattered theological documents said to be the holy writ of the early Church into the Book of the Lady. He is depicted as a cowled, hunchbacked scribe laboring over ancient tomes. He is especially revered by scholars, astrologers, wizards, and learned theologians
  • Coraline, the Voice of Doom, was a mystic who became a prophet after wandering the wastelands of the north. She is depicted as a gaunt figure whose eyes burn with divine radiance. She is especially revered by oracles, inquisitors, templars, and witch-hunters.

I think it would be a good idea to put a kind of dark-mirror version of the Church of the Lady into play. The reverence of these gods is a kind of open secret tolerated by the Church of the Lady. These gods seem like a good fit for halfings too, since halfings somehow were once human.
  • Killane of the Road (The Luck Lord, The Prince of Coins, The Keeper of the Crossroads) – revered by gamblers, pirates, bandits, and travelers; a happy-go-lucky god; definitely a trickster. *the archetypal man at the crossroads 
  • Mama Lazuul (Lady of the Midnight Hour) – goddess of crimes that happen under the cover of darkness and late-night rendezvous; goddess of thieves and love
  • Papa Simett (Lord of Secrets and Whispers) – it is said that anything that is whispered is heard by Papa Simett

The Beast-Gods
These primal deities are a collection of Gnoll-gods and the forgotten, elemental remnants of pre Church domination. Isolated humans may take up the worship of these gods, but it will cost them much of their humanity.
  • Father Sothack (God of the Briny Depths, the Drowned King, Prince of the Kraken's Maw) – grim sea god; Neptune crossed with Dagon; his avatar looks like that Cthulhoid guy from Pirates of the Caribbean; his rites involve near-drowning baptisms
  • The Golden Lion – Beast God; God of Pride, Honor, and Martial Prowess
  • Hakhan (Demon Lord of Bestial Bloodshed) – depicted as a massive minotaur or broo-like creature covered in blood and girt with a belt of skulls; basically the god of death metal album covers
  • Junox (The Ever-Flowing God) – a god more feared than worshiped; said to have created oozes, slimes, jellies, puddings, etc.; rules from a throne made of garbage and refuse
  • Kumo-Thlis (The Snake God, The One Who Slithers) – definitely sinister; his rites involve snake-handling, speaking in tongues, rolling in the aisles
  • Mong-Trall (The Capricious Monkey God) – a trickster god; his temples are defended by monkeys wielding razors
  • Mother Lothack (Demon Queen of the raging sea, the Tempest Queen, Our Lady of the Sharks) – the demonic consort to Father Sothack; those who survive shark attacks are considered to be blessed by her
  • The Luminous Hawk – a Beast God; barbarians believe that he drags the sun into the sky each day; he is the enemy of the undead
  • The Unconquered Badger – a Beast God; he is the God of defending hearth and home; you've seen the honey badger video right? he's like Ron Swanson in honey badger form

That leaves me with Devils, Demons, and Extra-planar Menaces. This is a kind of tool-box to pull from when I might need ideas for Black-Mash later.
  • The Carrion Marquis – super creepy and gross death; god of death in war; depicted as a rotting general surrounded by a cloud of black flies
  • The Dismembered One – super creepy and gross death god worshiped in Mord-Stavian; depicted as horribly crippled and missing limbs
  • The Flayed Maiden – super creepy and gross death god; depicted much like Julia in Hellraiser II before she gets her skin back
  • Matakhan (Demon Queen of Assassins, Executions, and Poison) – purple-skinned and multi-armed; bloodthirsty; may be a female avatar of Hakhan
  • Morgath (Lord of Undeath, The Corpulent Reaper) – a big fat fleshy grim reaper; fit for doom metal album covers; worshiped by liches, vampires, pennangalan
  • Narlathia (Fey Goddess of Enchantment, Pain, and Plunder) – her servants are deadly red-caps and drow; revered by marauders; Lolth-y and Cenobite-y
  • Skaylex (Goddess of Fungi) – more feared than worshiped; the mushroom men are her servants
  • Slithian Vor (Demon Queen of Aestheticism and Carnality) – Slaanesh as designed by Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley; sends succubi as emissaries
  • Sluurge (Demon Lord of Pestilence, Famine, and Gallows Humor) – always depicted as wearing a top hat; a diseased dandy
  • Zzorch (Demon Lord of Mutation and Wild Magic) – like Tzeentch, but more interested in mutations and magical experiments; Victor Frankenstein would have worshiped Zzorch